Living Big In Small Town America

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Small-town America has gotten a bad rap in the past. Many people often envision living in rural America as dull and boring. However, as with anything, there is another larger side to the story. 

Sure, rural areas tend to be a bit slower and less crowded than sprawling urban areas. A town of 1,000 is sure to be vastly different than a bustling city of one million. As someone who lives in a town with a population of less than 500, I can tell you that small-town living does come with some drawbacks. However, I think there are quite a few upsides as well.

Rent is Cheaper

There’s no doubt about it: living in a small, rural area is going to be more affordable than living in a huge city. 

If you rent, you might be interested to know that the average monthly rent payment for someone living in New York City is $3,777. Meanwhile, the average monthly rent for Minneapolis is $1,565. Minneapolis isn’t exactly rural, but it’s much smaller than the Big Apple, so it would represent a fairly big change in lifestyle. 

Anecdotal evidence tells me that rents in small towns in Minnesota are a bit below that Minneapolis average. For example, you might expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $900-$1,200 per month for a small apartment in a quiet town outside of the metro area. And if you crave the big city life, you can always hop in your car and road trip to the metro for a weekend getaway

Remote Work Makes Job Hunting Easier

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it seems that employers are offering up plentiful opportunities for remote work. This is excellent news for anyone considering a move to a rural area. 

Traditionally, rural areas haven’t held much appeal when it comes to job hunting. These days, you are much more likely to be able to keep the job you love while also being able to escape the big city and move to a small town. 

If you’re not really into working remotely though, you may find that job hunting could be a challenge. Small towns typically aren’t home to big corporations, so your career prospects could be rather limited here. It’s something you will need to consider carefully before making the move to a smaller community. 

Fewer Attractions and Restaurants

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but don’t expect to find huge shopping malls or five-star restaurants in most small towns. You’re also not likely to find Broadway-quality plays in rural areas, either. 

My particular town in rural Minnesota has most of the major fast-food chains with about four or five decent quality restaurants for sit-down meals. Know that this can be a big problem if you have any sort of dietary restrictions. I’ve found that traveling to bigger cities, such as Duluth, Minnesota, makes it easier to find restaurants that can accommodate food sensitivities.

Peace and Quiet

There’s really no way to put a price on this one, in my opinion, but the peace and quiet you find in small-town America are incredible. Out here in rural Minnesota, we measure driving distance in minutes, not miles. We don’t get a lot of traffic jams, and if we do, it’s most likely during spring planting or Fall harvest when the tractors take up a whole lane of traffic for five minutes or so as they travel between fields. 

At night, you can fall asleep to the sounds of birds or crickets and frogs instead of honking and sirens. Rural America allows you to gather your thoughts or take a leisurely stroll through the grass, inhaling that clean, smog-free air as well. 

Don’t get me wrong--big city living can be fun. I once visited NYC and, to my surprise, absolutely loved it! But I did enjoy coming home to my rural home after that trip. 

Small Town Living

To be sure, living in small-town America is not for everyone. If you’re seriously considering it, you’ll want to thoroughly investigate the region first. Check out the amenities and restaurants as well as the job prospects. If possible, talk to people who live in the area who can give you a local perspective on small-town living.  

If you’re someone who just can’t fall asleep without the noise of the city and twinkling city lights, you may not want to move to a tiny town. However, if you’re up for some solitude and a slower pace of life, then it just might be for you.

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